Sheila will try to answer as many of your English Social Care questions as possible, giving priority to frequently asked questions and questions regarding current events and trends.
Will there ever be legislation regarding acceptable and safe levels of staffing?
I find it difficult to accept that the CQC has no role to play in enforcement, advisory or otherwise, in determining what is an acceptable level of staff in care homes. Whilst I appreciate there is no legislation covering this and the standards set by the CQC are open to interpretation and ambiguous at best, why on earth leave it to the discretion of management when they are bound by a budget set by the proprietor and accountants?
I suppose what I’m asking you is do you think there will ever be legislation to force care owners to comply with an acceptable and safe level of staffing?
Thank you for your question.
I think the first thing I should say is that the Care Quality Commission absolutely does have a key role to play in the enforcement of acceptable levels of staff in care homes and I know that this is a responsibility that they take very seriously.
Regulation 18 (Staffing) of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 sets out the regulation about staffing and offers guidance on meeting the regulation.
It is a management function to make sure that at all times the appropriate staff are on duty to meet the needs of the service users. It is important that this is a management function so the changing needs of service users can be recognised.
The key line of enquiry to the question "Is the service safe?" has important questions for inspectors about the staffing of a care home.
Two other points, taken from the CQC website, in response to your question are:
- CQC cannot prosecute for a breach of this regulation or any of its parts, but we can take regulatory action. See the offence section for more detail.
- CQC must refuse registration if providers cannot satisfy us that they can and will continue to comply with this regulation.
I hope this is helpful.
What would you like to ask Sheila?
Sheila Scott OBE from National Care Association (NCA). Care is Sheila’s life; she possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business and as a leader in the care sector.
Sheila will try to answer as many of your questions as possible, giving priority to frequently asked questions and questions regarding current events and trends.
Please note that Sheila can not offer answers to matters requiring legal advice. If your matter concerns a specific service provider, please contact the CQC.